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European deals: Telenor to divest CEE assets; Vivendi sells Ubisoft stake

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from March 19 to March 23.

TOP NEWS

* Telenor ASA has agreed to sell its assets in central and eastern Europe to PPF Group NV, an investment firm owned by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, for an enterprise value of €2.8 billion. The deal, anticipated to close in the third quarter of 2018, will cover Telenor's mobile operations in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as service provider Telenor Common Operation. After receiving unsolicited interest in the assets from an undisclosed party in January, Telenor and PPF have concurred on a deferred purchase price, wherein €400 million of the transaction amount will be paid in four installments in a span of four years. CEO Sigve Brekke said Telenor's move to sell its CEE assets is part of a strategy to focus on regions where it sees "the strongest potential." The Norwegian company will retain its integrated fixed and mobile operations in Scandinavia, as well as its mobile services in Asia.

* French media group Vivendi SA has agreed to sell its 27.27% stake in "Assassin's Creed" developer Ubisoft Entertainment SA for a total value of €2 billion. Vivendi, which owns 30,489,300 shares in Ubisoft, sold 19,868,088 of the shares to institutional investors at €66 apiece in a private placement via an accelerated bookbuilding process. The number of shares, which initially totaled 18,368,088, was increased by 1.5 million following "strong demand" from buyers. Another 3,030,303 shares were sold for cash to Guillemot Brothers SE, an entity controlled by the Guillemot family that founded Ubisoft. Vivendi will sell the remaining 7,590,909 shares after six months to Ubisoft as part of forward sale commitments, allowing the latter to buy back and cancel the shares. The private placement and the sale to Guillemot Brothers was expected to be completed March 23. Post-deal completion, Vivendi will not own any Ubisoft shares and has agreed not to acquire holdings in the company over five years.

M&A Media

* French native advertising technology company Adyoulike SA has acquired video technology platform Pulpix Inc. The acquisition is expected to bolster publisher relationships and advance the company's technology, according to a March 23 news release.

* Meredith Corp. has completed the sale of Time Inc. (UK) Ltd. to Epiris Fund II LP. Time Inc. UK is a British media company with a portfolio of more than 50 brands, including Country Life and Woman's Weekly. Meredith bought Time Inc. UK on Jan. 31 as part of its acquisition of Time Inc.

M&A Communications

* Liberty Global plc unit UPC Polska Sp zoo terminated its deal to buy Multimedia Polska SA, Poland's third-largest cable operator. The deal had faced scrutiny from Poland's Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, which was expected to issue its decision on the proposed acquisition in the first quarter. The watchdog had previously raised concerns about the deal's potential threats to industry competition in 15 Polish cities. However, UPC Polska withdrew its application March 23, saying the companies had failed to agree on revised commercial terms "that take into account current regulatory and market conditions," the company said in a Form 8-K filed the same day. The Liberty Global unit in October 2016 had agreed to buy Multimedia Polska in an all-cash transaction valuing the cable business at roughly $760 million. The deal excluded Multimedia's insurance, gas and energy operations.

* Upland Software Inc. has acquired Interfax Communications Ltd., a provider of cloud-based messaging solutions including enterprise cloud fax and secure document distribution. The purchase price paid for Dublin-based InterFAX and related entities, including operations in Ireland, Israel and a U.S. reseller, was $37 million in cash at closing, net of cash acquired, and a $5.0 million cash holdback payable over 18 months and subject to reduction for indemnification claims. The transaction marks Upland's first deal in Europe.